I could have just as easily titled this post, “Be Careful of What You Ask For,” but that would have been a bit too much of a cliché. Well, with that said, let me get right into it…
Last month I received an invitation to be a guest author and a subject matter panelist at the 2015 CBC ALC (Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference) in Washington, D.C., and was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet new potential readers and sign copies of my award-winning book (“From Fear to Faith: A Survivor’s Story”). My event was scheduled for Thursday, September 17th, and since my wife and I only live about a six hours’ drive from D.C., we decided early on that we would hit the road the day before. Now, if you’ve ever driven in or around the city of Washington D.C., you know just how bad the traffic can be. With that in mind, I figured it a safe bet to leave home not later than 10am, to allow for Charlotte, NC rush hour traffic to dwindle down, and to arrive in the outskirts of D.C. before the second rush hour of the day began.
The day before (Tuesday), I prayed and asked God to not only give us safe travels to and back from our destination, but also to help us avoid the heavy traffic that causes an already long trip to be longer and more stressful. I left it in God’s hands and went on about my day’s business. That evening, my wife told me that she needed to run a few errands prior to our getting on the road, but that they were simple and quick enough to do “on the way.” With just a quick two-night trip, I knew I wouldn’t need to pack heavy, so I showered, ate a light dinner, and went to bed.
Fast forward to Wednesday morning and I’m ready to go. My body was a little sore from playing a tough tennis match the evening before, so I decided to sleep in a bit and got up at 7:45 (knowing my departure time was to be 10:00am). Well, nothing seemed to go right that morning and I found myself moving as though I was walking through a foot of mud. I continued plowing ahead though, packing my small bag and getting the dog ready to go to the kennel. My wife, who is usually well on top of things when she’s preparing for a meeting with customers or getting ready to meet friends for dinner, seemed to be moving at the same pace as I, if not a tad slower. My frustration began to mount as I looked at the clock. I remembered hearing in my head the night before, “You’re not going to leave the house until noon!” I thought I was hearing the voice of my fear of not leaving when I wanted to and just ignored it. I continued on, feverishly trying to make my self-imposed 10am deadline.
As 10am neared and together, the two of us weren’t even close to being ready, I resigned myself to thinking, “okay, noon it is!” I decided to drop off a package at the post office, take the dog to the kennel, then stop at the local supermarket and grab drinks and snacks for our road trip. I shouted to my wife on the way out the door, “Be ready to go when I get back honey,” to which she replied, “Okay!”
Well, long story short, she wasn’t exactly ready when I got back home, and it was another 20 minutes before we finally got into the car and left. Still needing to run her quick errands on the way, I grew more and more angry at the thought that we would not get to the hotel when I wanted to, and would likely hit traffic, so I decided to stop into the local electronics superstore and grab a Bluetooth speaker. From there, we went and ran her errands and grabbed lunch, then got on the road.
The air in the car was thick (as you might imagine), with my wife sensing my “heat” and my not being interested in listening to her small talk. As our trip carried on, we made a couple of “pit stops” for refueling, coffee and bathroom breaks, but I simply was not paying attention to what was happening around me. The closer we drew to Washington, the more I noticed the trip was less like a weekday drive and more like a Sunday afternoon cruise down the interstate in the Carolinas. It was then that it dawned on me that God, in His eternal faithfulness to all of us, had granted me just what I asked for: a stress-free drive from Charlotte to D.C. As it turned out, the only stress I had was the stress I created in the car (which my wife addressed prior to our arrival, as I knew she would). Needless to say, I felt about as small as an ant for giving her so much grief, when in reality, I was angry at a situation created by my own desire and request (a request for a stress-free, light-traffic drive to D.C.).
Honey, I’m sorry and Lord… I’m sorry for creating the only stress that we had during the drive. I guess the next time, I’ll fly a little higher above the circumstances so that I can see the whole picture come into view.